But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
The duty of disciples, of all baptized Christians they must observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded, and, in order to that, must submit to the teaching of those whom he sends. Our admission into the visible church is in order to something further when Christ hath discipled us, he hath not done with us he enlist soldiers that he may train them up for his service.
All that are baptized, are thereby obliged, To make the command of Christ their rule. There is a law of faith, and we are said to be under the law to Christ we are by baptism bound, and must obey. To observe what Christ has commanded. Due obedience to the commands of Christ requires a diligent observation we are in danger of missing, if we take not good heed: and in all our obedience, we must have an eye to the command, and do what we do as unto the Lord. To observe all things, that he has commanded, without exception all the moral duties, and all the instituted ordinances. Our obedience to the laws of Christ is not sincere, if it be not universal we must stand complete in his whole will. To confine themselves to the commands of Christ, and as not to diminish from them, so not to add to them. To learn their duty according to the law of Christ, from those whom he has appointed to be teachers in his school, for therefore we were entered into his school.
Here is the assurance he gives them of his spiritual presence with them in the execution of this commission And lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. This exceeding great and precious promise is ushered in with a behold, to strengthen their faith, and engage their observation of it. "Take notice of this it is what you may assure yourselves of and venture upon." Observe,
The favour promised them I am with you. Not, I will be with you, but I am--ego eimi. As God sent Moses, so Christ sent his apostles, by this name, I am for he is God, to whom past, present, and to come, are the same. See Revelation 1:8. He was now about to leave them his bodily presence was now to be removed from them, and this grieved them but he assures them of his spiritual presence, which was more expedient for them than his bodily presence could be I am with you that is, "My Spirit is with you, the Comforter shall abide with you, John 16:7. I am with you, and not against you: with you to take your part, to be on your side, and to hold with you, as Michael our prince is said to do, Daniel 10:21. I am with you, and not absent from you, not at a distance I am a very present help," Psalm 46:1. Christ was now sending them to set up his kingdom in the world, which was a great undertaking. And then doth he seasonably promise them his presence with them, to carry them on through the difficulties they were likely to meet with. "I am with you, to bear you up, to plead your cause with you in all your services, in all your sufferings, to bring you through them with comfort and honour. When you go through the fire or water, I will be with you. In the pulpit, in the prison, lo, I am with you." To succeed this great undertaking "Lo, I am with you, to make your ministry effectual for the discipling of the nations, for the pulling down of the strong holds of Satan, and the setting up of stronger for the Lord Jesus." It was an unlikely thing that they should unhinge national constitutions in religion, and turn the stream of so long a usage that they should establish a doctrine so directly contrary to the genius of the age, and persuade people to become the disciples of a crucified Jesus but lo, I am with you, and therefore you shall gain your point. The continuance of the favour, always, even unto the end of the world.
They shall have his constant presence Always, pasas tas hemeras--all days, every day. "I will be with you on Sabbath days and week days, fair days and foul days, winter days and summer days." There is no day, no hour of the day, in which our Lord Jesus is not present with his churches and with his ministers if there were, that day, that hour, they were undone. Since his resurrection he had appeared to them now and then, once a week it may be, and scarcely that. But he assures them that they shall have his spiritual presence continued to them without intermission. Wherever we are the word of Christ is nigh us, even in our mouth, and the Spirit of Christ nigh us, even in our hearts. The God of Israel, the Saviour, is sometimes a God that hideth himself (Isaiah 45:15), but never a God that absenteth himself sometimes in the dark, but never at a distance.
They shall have his perpetual presence, even to the end of the world. There is a world before us, that will never have an end, but this is hastening towards its period and even till then the Christian religion shall, in one part of the world or other, be kept up, and the presence of Christ continued with his ministers. I am with you to the end of the world, not with your persons, they died quickly, but, First, With you and your writings. There is a divine power going along with the scripture of the New Testament, not only preserving them in being, but producing strange effects by them, which will continue to the end of time. Secondly, With you and your successors with you and all the ministers of the gospel in the several ages of the church with all to whom this commission extends, with all who, being duly called and sent, thus baptize and thus teach. When the end of the world is come, and the kingdom delivered up to God, even the Father, there will then be no further need of ministers and their ministration but till then they shall continue, and the great intentions of the institution shall be answered. This is an encouraging word to all the faithful ministers of Christ, that what was said to the apostles, was said to them all, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
Two solemn farewells we find our Lord Jesus giving to his church, and his parting word at both of them is very encouraging one was here, when he closed up his personal converse with them, and then his parting word was, "Lo, I am with you always I leave you, and yet still I am with you " the other was, when he closed up the canon of the scripture by the pen of his beloved disciple, and then his parting word was, "Surely, I come quickly. I leave you for awhile, but I will be with you again shortly," Revelation 22:20. By this it appears that he did not part in anger, but in love, and that it is his will we should keep up both our communion with him and our expectation of him.
There is one word more remaining, which must not be overlooked, and that is Amen which is not a cipher, intended only for a concluding word, like finis at the end of a book, but it has its significancy. It bespeaks Christ's confirmation of this promise, Lo, I am with you. It is his Amen, in whom all the promises are Yea and Amen, "Verily I am, and will be, with you I the Amen, the faithful Witness, do assure you of it." Or, It bespeaks the church's concurrence with it, in their desire, and prayer, and expectation. It is the evangelist's Amen--So be it, blessed Lord. Our Amen to Christ's promises turns them into prayers. Hath Christ promised to be present with his ministers, present in his word, present in the assemblies of his people, though but two or three are gathered together in his name, and this always, even to the end of the world? Let us heartily say Amen to it believe that it shall be so, and pray that it may be so: Lord, Remember this word unto thy servants, upon which thou hast caused us to hope. - Matthew Henry
The Bible is overflowing with encouragement and assurance that God is always with us. We read time and time again that we are never alone in whatever we may face. Yet it can be so easy to feel alone and to wonder not only whether God is there, but if He evens hears or sees us. We can be encouraged that He is and He does! God is an ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1), He is always with us, and Jesus reminds us of this in His final words to the disciples.
Jesus holds all authority in heaven and on earth. Jesus is encouraging the disciples that even though they will face hardships and even death because of following Him, He is still bigger than all of it. The world will continue to struggle with sin, but He offers a way to conquer sin and find a more meaningful life on earth that will lead to eternal life with Him.
We are to observe baptism as a reminder. There is nothing magical about the waters of baptism. The water is just water. When we baptize new disciples into the kingdom, we follow the example set by Jesus (Matthew 3:13), and symbolically give up our old life in exchange for one that is new, fulfilling, and eternal. Through the observance of baptism, we remember that Jesus is risen, and is always with us.
And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. - John 14:16-17.
Through the presence of the Holy Spirit, Jesus is constantly and fully present with us. We are blessed to know that not only is He with us, but He also lives in us and works through us. In times of trouble and in times of rejoicing, we can be fully confident that Jesus is with us, hears our prayers, answers our prayers, and is placing us exactly where He wants us to be for our own good and for His glory.
Jason Soroski is a homeschool dad and member of the worship team at matthias lot church in St. Charles, MO. He spends his free time hanging out with his family, exploring new places, and writing about the experiences. Connect on Facebook or at JasonSoroski.net. 2b1af7f3a8